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Annie Mac Notes from Seattle - Saturday Oct 16

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  • themcalexanders
    On Saturday morning, Maggie was due at the YWIH festival about 9:00, so we got up bright and early, headed down to the lobby for the hotel breakfast (with
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1 10:08 AM
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      On Saturday morning, Maggie was due at the YWIH festival about 9:00, so we got up bright and early, headed down to the lobby for the hotel breakfast (with make-your-own waffles – yum!), and then set off again for Mercer Island. I just dropped her off at the curb this time and watched while she went inside, knowing she was well taken care of, and headed off to explore the island some more. I have an app called Yelp! on my phone that I can use to look up stores, restaurants, etc., and read first-hand customer reviews, and it's steered me to many great out-of-the-way businesses over the last couple years. I looked up nearby businesses, and planned my day … A German bakery whose specialty is pretzel rolls, a grocery store, another trip to Rite-Aid to pick up some things I'd forgotten the night before, and just driving around some more – I was able to fill up my morning without really trying. I also used an app to locate some local radio stations and program the buttons in the rental car.

      I was supposed to provide a sack lunch for Maggie, which is a little hard to do when you've just flown in and are staying in a hotel, so I figured I could improvise that morning and bring it to her at lunchtime. I ended up with a small insulated cooler from Rite-Aid (collapsible, so I could also bring it home later), Black Forest ham and provolone on the most delicious pretzel rolls I think I've ever had, a bowl of cut cantaloupe, an assortment of bottles of flavored sparkling water, and fresh coconut macaroons for dessert. And I was able to keep the leftovers on ice in the cooler, so we were able to have more sandwiches like these again over the next few days.

      The church grounds were well-forested and set on a hillside, and since Maggie didn't really know anyone at the workshop and didn't have much opportunity to meet or talk with the other girls (they were singing most of the time, a lot were local and came with a group of school friends, and the others were mostly Rising Star competitors who came in fours), she asked me to stay and have lunch with her. We explored and found a little amphitheater down the hill behind the church. As with everything on the island, it was lovely and rustic. We sat down there to eat, but a bee soon came to visit, so Maggie grabbed her stuff and high-tailed it back up the steps and to a bench outside a back entrance to the church. We finished our lunch there, and headed back inside to sit and relax for awhile.

      The room where the festival was held was a large, open community room with a vaulted ceiling, wood floors, and a staircase leading up to a balcony and some smaller rooms that were used for section rehearsals. There were open, carpeted hallways running along two sides of the room disappearing to meet behind a big corner fireplace that faced the risers, and there were lots of windows on one of the opposite walls behind the risers. The risers fit easily, the room was bright and inviting, and the girls had lots of dancing room. The only drawback was that the sunlight streamed in and blinded the coaches and observing parents later in the afternoon, but this was minor, and overall the festival was extremely well-run and was a lot of fun to be a part of. The girls rehearsed and prepared the three songs they'd learned in advance – The Locomotion, Lean On Me, and We Go Together – for a performance on the international stage during the Harmony Classic competition the following Tuesday evening.

      Maggie hadn't brought a jacket with her to Seattle, just a couple heavy sweaters, so after lunch I asked her if she'd be interested in having a souvenir hoodie from the University of Washington. After all, I had the afternoon to kill, and I knew where the school was – we'd passed the exit on the way back and forth to our hotel. I didn't know it at the time, but purple is the school's main color. This is also Maggie's high school's main color, so this ended up being a brilliant plan. That was, however, until I got off I-5 at the exit for the school, proceeded into the center of the campus, and discovered that there was a home football game later that day. Oops! I hadn't thought to check into that ahead of time. But if I had, I probably wouldn't have gone, and it ended up being okay – It just look a little longer. The only parking spot I could find was in a 10-minute loading zone just around the corner from the campus apparel store, but I was in and out in less than that with a new purple hoodie, and I was still able to get back to the island mid-afternoon. I visited the local Island Books bookstore for about an hour (Does anyone else love wandering around bookstores like I do?), picked out a book for Maggie, inquired about one for me but it was out of stock, and headed back to the festival just in time to watch the girls run their Tuesday night package several times before wrapping up. We were also treated to a quick performance by Mojo. Very nice!

      My compliments to Lori Decter Wright and Janell Mason of the SAI Education Department, and to Nikki, Judy, and all of the Seattle-area SAI volunteers that helped out, for the excellent job with the workshop.

      Earlier in the day I'd asked one of my Seattle friends via Facebook for some restaurant suggestions (Thanks, Tanya!), and I'd also Yelped! to see what seafood restaurants were near or on the island. We were only about 10 minutes away from Bellevue (just east of Seattle), and when I saw the listing for The Crab Pot in Bellevue, and that it sounded like a lot of fun and had gotten good reviews, I thought, "We're there!" I knew Maggie wasn't as keen on having seafood as I was, but this place had a twist that I knew she'd really like, so when we got in the car and I told her the plan, I said, "Trust me on this one, Maggie. I don't want to spoil the surprise, but I know you'll enjoy it." She was tired but game, so off we went.

      The Crab Pot's specialty is seafood, served family-style in a large aluminum pot. There are several different combinations to choose from, at varying prices. We ordered "The Alaskan," that includes king crab, Dungeness crab, snow crab, shrimp in the shell, steamed clams, pacific mussels, andouille sausage, corn on the cob, and red potatoes in their jackets. I already knew what was going to happen from reading the reviews, but it was fun to watch Maggie's eyes get really big as our server flipped the large pot over and dumped its contents in the middle of our white butcher paper-covered table. Instead of plates he put a wooden plank in front of each of us with a crab cracker, a wooden mallet, and a cocktail fork. Perfect! Oh, and he also brought lots of drawn butter, with assurances that we could have as much more of this as we needed. Yum! We dug in and ate most of it, busily pounding and cracking for half an hour or so with little conversation and lots of giggles. It was excellent, and it was very fun!

      Then we headed back to the hotel to collapse. On the way home, as we came back across the bridge from Bellevue, we passed the University of Washington football stadium, all lit up in the dark with the game in progress. For some reason, I felt almost like I was there!

      Ann McAlexander
      Capital City Chorus, SAI
      BHS wife, mom, and Associate
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